Skins | Chicago Reader


Chris Eyre follows up his impressive debut Smoke Signals with another story about a troubled Native American family, this one adapted from a novel by Adrian C. Louis. A police officer (Eric Schweig) who patrols the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota laments the sorry state of his brother (Graham Greene), a Vietnam veteran who's hawked his Purple Hearts for beer and lives in a drunken stupor. To help his tribe, the cop becomes a vigilante: wearing black face paint and a nylon stocking over his head, he smashes the kneecaps of two young murder suspects and torches a white-owned liquor store that exploits the Indian population. Eyre clumsily grafts on news footage, historical footnotes, and statistics about poverty, alcoholism, and diminished life expectancy on the reservation, but Greene delivers a wrenching performance, and like Smoke Signals, the film ends with a cathartic, triumphant flourish. 84 min.

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